Summary: The people offered their presence in the city, their praise to God and their possessions for His house.
RECAP: Neh 10 - The nation made a binding agreement before God, in writing.
• Committing themselves, and the generations to come, to SUBMIT to God’s Word (obey Him), to SEPARATE themselves as God’s people (to be a good testimony), and to SUPPORT the Lord’s ministry in the Temple.
(1) We commit to God because commitment REFLECTS the character of God.
• God is faithful and true to us, even if we are unfaithful and disobedient.
(2) We commit because it helps us stay on the RIGHT track
• We want to “bind” ourselves to the truth of God’s Word. We want to bind ourselves to the obligations or responsibilities that are right, true and good.
(3) We commit because it helps us stay FOCUSED on God.
• Heb 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
• When everything around you crumples, hang on to is Jesus. He alone remains steadfast; He is our refuge and strength.
Nehemiah 11-12 shows us how the people were ready to dedicate themselves to God.
I called it their OFFERINGS to God:
(1) their presence in the city; (2) the praise to God; and (3) the possessions for His house.
Chapter 11 – they need some to move in and stay in Jerusalem.
• 1Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.
3These are the provincial leaders who settled in Jerusalem (now some Israelites, priests, Levites, temple servants and descendants of Solomon's servants lived in the towns of Judah, each on his own property in the various towns, 4while other people from both Judah and Benjamin lived in Jerusalem)…
They need to re-populate the city. They need to restart the ministry of the Temple of God. They need people.
• Some were drafted, others volunteered, but they were willing to come back.
• It would take some sacrifices, it would mean leaving their comfort zones, but they came. This was the place God needed them.
• So here we have a list of the people, a list of unpronounceable names – who are prepared to settle into Jerusalem, and near to the Temple where they served.
The Temple ministry itself requires the priests, Levites and temple workers.
• The priests officiated at the altar (822 men, v.12), and the Levites assisted them (284, v.18). We need gatekeepers, and the singers who minister in the Temple.
• God’s city and the house of God need people. So the people moved into the city.
(1) We see the people offering their PRESENCE in the city
They wanted to be back where God needed them. They are prepared to build up the community, to be the people of God.
• Jesus did the same when He came into this world, and “made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
• He did what was necessary, He did God’s will, so that His plan can be fulfilled and we can be saved.
• It would meaning forgoing heaven (moving out of His comfort zone), taking on human flesh, and dwelling in a sin-filled world.
• It would take sacrifices but the rewards are significant and eternal.
Are you willing to be where God wants you to be?
• Warren Wiersbe: “Never under-estimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place where God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry. They men, women, and children who helped to populate the city of Jerusalem were serving God, their nation, and future generations by their step of faith.”
[p.144 in Be Determined, OT Commentary of Nehemiah.]
• Are we willing to move out of our comfort zone, to make some sacrifices, to adjust our normal routine, and do the will of God?
Be wiling to be where God wants you to be.
• We are called to build up this community of faith called the church, the family of God.
• All of us have a part to play in this. God is counting on us. Our presence is a blessing to the Body.
(2) We see the people offering their PRAISE to God
They had this DEDICATION service for the wall.
It is an acknowledgment that this is the work of God, not man; this city belongs to God.
• The wall is not a monument to the strength of Jerusalem, but to the faithfulness of God and the glory of His Name.
• 6:16 “…this work had been done with the help of our God.”